Massachusetts Regulators Reviewing Casinos’ Sports Betting Catalog Compliance

USA Legal Betting


  • Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor are the subjects
  • The MGC is meeting Thursday to discuss the matter and could have further meetings
  • Sports betting launched in Massachusetts on January 31

Massachusetts regulators are reviewing two local casinos’ compliance with operating laws less than two weeks after the state’s legal sports betting market opened.

Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor, two of three casinos in Massachusetts, are being investigated for offering odds on sports events that were forbidden per the terms of their license.

The full details are not immediately available, but Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) agenda item says they are being investigated for “compliance with the Approved Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog.” It is unknown what the repercussions, if they are any, could be.

Possible breaches of rules

The MGC is meeting Thursday and will discuss the possible breach of catalog offerings. It is also expecting an executive meeting as a follow-up to the Thursday gathering.

The catalog is the events and types of betting markets that are available for bettors to wager on. State regulators approved the planned catalog last month in the final moments before the market went live and excluded several markets, such as esports, Olympic events, chess, and much more.

Gamblers also cannot bet on individual game results involving in-state college teams. However, futures bets are acceptable, meaning that a user could pick Boston College to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament but could not pick them to win their first-round matchup, or a matchup in any round for that matter.

The catalog was created with insight from executives of each of the three casinos. During initial debates, members of each casino had different ideas on what bets should and should not be accepted, such as MVP futures and non-sports events like the Academy Awards.

In 2021, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Boards fined Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association and BetMGM $7,500 for accepting wagers on a September boxing bout between Victor Belfort and Evander Holyfield despite stating the event was off-limits for sportsbooks. That was nothing more than a slap on the wrist for BetMGM, which made roughly $37 million in revenue in Pennsylvania alone that year.

More will be revealed after the Thursday meeting, according to the MGC's agenda.

“A Gaming Commission spokesman said Tuesday afternoon that the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will provide a status update on ‘catalog compliance’ during the first week of sports wagering at Thursday’s meeting,” said the agenda.

Starting off strong

Massachusetts became the 33rd state with a legal and operational sports betting market when it launched on January 31. Both retail and online sports betting were legalized with the change in legislation.

The move was seen as a necessity because of the success of nearby states New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Massachusetts, alongside Vermont, was also one of the only states in the northeast without a legal sports betting market.

It is common for states to encounter problems early in their tenure as homes for sports bettors. Ohio had one of the most successful launches of all time but struggled with a variety of issues, including predatory language in sportsbook advertisements and an increase in public resentment towards underperforming athletes.

Despite the bumps in the road, Massachusetts has gotten off to a strong start as a sports betting outlet. Its launch drew celebrities such as Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to local casinos, and customers have been active on the 11 legal sportsbooks.

The state also figures to benefit greatly from having its gambling market in place before the Super Bowl. Recent projections from the American Gaming Association estimated over $16 billion will be bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

This much is for sure: a range of Super Bowl bets will be available under the terms of the sports betting catalog.

Updates are soon to come pending the outcome of Thursday’s meeting between MGC members and any future gatherings.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.